STUMPFEST: DANAVA, LORD DYING, LECHEROUS GAZE, BLACK PUSSY, SONS OF HUNS, PRIZEHOG
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Portland's musical landscape is a lush garden of bands that can satisfy the tastes of anyone. But if you strip them all of genre, style, and label, sift through your own hang-ups about what makes for good music and performance, and just look at them as a group of musicians making music, you will find that Danava is the best band in Portland. Nobody in this town is more comfortable, confident, professional, proficient, or just plain natural as these four gentlemen. You can feel the heady and heavy grooves emanate from them as soon as they mount the stage, and once they start manipulating their instruments and putting their true selves out on display, there is absolutely no refuge in a room that Danava is rocking. ARIS WALES Also see My, What a Busy Week!
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Children of the '90s, rejoice—Polaris have returned! Initially formed in 1993 as a one-off side-project featuring members of the New Haven, Connecticut, college-rock band Miracle Legion, Polaris were commissioned by the creators of the Nickelodeon cult classic The Adventures of Pete & Pete to become the show's house band. Much like the show itself, Polaris' music has endured quite well over the two-decade span between Pete & Pete's initial run and these recent reunion shows, which mark the band's first-ever live performances. Hearing the show's theme song, "Hey Sandy," or the anthemic "Waiting for October" is guaranteed to bring forth an onslaught of resurgent nostalgia. Meanwhile, slower, sentimental numbers like "She Is Staggering" and the melancholy-soaked "Everywhere" still sound great enough to position frontman Muggy Polaris—AKA Mark Mulcahy—and his little band from Wellsville right alongside recent Melbourne-based jangle-pop breakout acts like Twerps and Dick Diver. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
SWAHILI, DJ GIGS, LAMAR LEROY, ACID FARM
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) I won't swear there's anything on Amovrevx, the new album from Portland electro-psych dance band Swahili, that you haven't heard before. But the way they've put it all together is invigorating and inviting: morotik-influenced Autobahn beats, Blade Runner funeral hymns for androids, clay-colored hot springs that bubble with new-age sounds, disco of both the Italo and Americo varieties. Swahili moved to Portland from the high desert of Reno in 2010, which might explain their sun-brightened, almost pastel take on the otherwise nocturnal, neon-lit realm of electronic dance music. But that is likely a reach—Amovrevx seems, simply, like the product of five likeminded people exploring exciting avenues of sound together. NED LANNAMANN
SOUTHERLY, TEAM EVIL, RITCHIE YOUNG, RYAN BARBER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's easy, perhaps, to take Krist Krueger for granted. The Wisconsin native and one-man tour de force behind Yardsss, Sdtrkr, Southerly, and the Self Group (and probably some other things no one knows about yet) always has something going on. He can be difficult to keep up with. Yet even as the mediums change, his consistency remains impressive. Southerly has been the most accessible and visible acts among his cadre (2007's Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist is one of the best records of its kind to come out of Portland over the past decade), and the prolific Krueger returned to that moniker earlier this year with a fourth installment of his Song-a-Week series. The gist, once again, was that he wrote, recorded, mixed, and posted a new song within a week, this time resulting in 13 new songs. He'll celebrate its conclusion with the first full-band Southerly show in quite some time, alongside an entire bill of acts who evoke similarly fond memories. JEREMY PETERSEN
STUMPFEST: YOB, INTRONAUT, AUTHOR AND PUNISHER, GRAVES AT SEA, MUSCLE AND MARROW
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Stumpfest rides again into its fourth year, with three nights of maximum rock ’n’ roll. Tonight you get Yob as your headliner, and the band is heavy on the road supporting last year’s fan-fucking-tastic Clearing the Path to Ascend. It’ll be so good and so loud, you might want to wear a diaper. Also tonight: Intronaut will bring their moody prog to the balance, and one-man doom scientist Author and Punisher will steamroll. Graves at Sea and Muscle and Marrow round out what is already a stacked lineup of three killer days of heavy rock. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!
JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ, ÓLÖF ARNALDS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) It's hard to believe that it's been a dozen years since José González bubbled to indie-rock's surface, thanks to a handful of wonderful EPs and the peak of music blogs' power. It's even harder to believe that it's been more than seven years since González blessed us with a solo album (2007's In Our Nature). Time flies, right? It does, but in González's world, not much changes. The Swedish singer/songwriter's new record, Vestiges & Claws, delivers more of what the man does brilliantly: ethereal, acoustic folk-pop songs played with percussive flair and sung with disarming intimacy. As he did in his earliest work, González sounds like he's living inside your headphones, personally delivering fingerpicked perfection to your ears. If you add in his work with his folk-rock band Junip—with whom he released albums in 2010 and 2013—González is building up a seriously impressive catalog. BEN SALMON
MIKAL CRONIN, OLD LIGHT
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Preeminent pop litterateur Mikal Cronin can do no wrong. His self-titled debut record, which seemingly came out of nowhere in 2011, remains one of those pop albums almost too good to be true. Opener and centerpiece "Is It Alright" begins, misleadingly, with a choir of harmonizing, overdubbed Cronins that sound lifted straight from a discarded Smile track, before launching into an immaculate slab of summery garage-pop that references the Kinks, Jay Reatard, the Troggs, and solo Lennon. On the Merge Records-issued follow-up, MCII (stylized à la Mortal Kombat), Cronin trades in some of that naïve vitality and stylistic indecision for a more structured sound, and while it never inspires the same level of pure pop glee as its predecessor, it's still a damn memorable record from front to back. If there were any doubt, latest single, "Made My Mind Up," promises the same level of quality from the songwriter's upcoming LP, predictably titled MCIII. MORGAN TROPER
DEATH VALLEY GIRLS, GOOCH PALMS, SUMMER CANNIBALS, FIRE NUNS
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) While Burger Records has become synonymous with California teenage-beachgoer noise, Lolipop Records has steadily risen alongside, showcasing the diversity of the Los Angeles underground, both in musical themes and the number of women artists. Death Valley Girls (with releases on both labels) are a fiery bridge between fuzzy garage rock and slow-burning punk. Akin to angsty yet hedonistic '70s psychobilly bands like the Cramps and the Gun Club, Death Valley Girls provide fuel for a good time, but with their emotions still vulnerably worn on their leather sleeves. Their echoing, violent guitar riffs, matched with consistently warm power chords, drive their latest 7-inch, Electric High, but it's Bonnie Bloomgarden's pterodactyl screeches that really set them apart from the homogeneity of LA lo-fi. You may have even heard Bloomgarden's banshee-like yells backing King Tuff on Black Moon Spell. CAMERON CROWELL
SAUL WILLIAMS, SONS OF AN ILLUSTRIOUS FATHER
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Since first earning national attention with his breakout role in the 1998 film Slam, Saul Williams has been something of a mercurial artist. Author, slam poet, Broadway actor, and recording artist, Williams has attempted a little bit of everything, to varying degrees of success. His music (Williams has been doing industrial hiphop long before Yeezus) is at times brilliant, most notably his Rick Rubin-produced debut, Amethyst Rock Star, and his second, self-titled album. His penchant for experimentation, however, can sometimes be confounding, as it was with his last two albums, including the Trent Reznor-produced oddity, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! But Williams is not one to be discouraged from challenging his audience or himself, and the two released tracks from his upcoming album, Martyr Loser King, are as innovative and provocative as ever. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY
CELEBRATE ART SHOW: IJI, ABORIGINAL FLOWERS
(Cherry Sprout Produce, 722 N Sumner) Seattle's Iji sounds like a childhood of soft-rock radio, scrappy indie-pop records, and movie beach-party sequences, brilliantly remade in band form. The songwriting project Zach Burba started when he was 15 has now been going strong for 12 years, with seven full-length albums, innumerable tours, and over 40 members in and out of the troupe. Whatever Will Happen, Iji's upcoming album on Team Love, is full of overwhelmingly positive groove-heavy pop songs that were made to be heard while sitting in the grass outside of Cherry Sprout Grocery. Make sure to come early to catch new local project Aboriginal Flowers. The minimalist electro duo is made up of members of the Woolen Men and Half Shadow, and is unlike anything else happening in the Portland music scene right now. JOSHUA JAMES AMBERSON
SAM COOMES, MÁSCARAS, MALL CASTE
(Mothership Music, 3611 NE MLK) Mothership Music—the one-stop spot for musical instruments, records, and otherworldly (and all-ages) live shows—is celebrating one year in the biz. Former Eternal Tapestry guitarist and current Spectrum Control mastermind Dewey Mahood steers the good ship Mothership into its anniversary party with another eclectic night of music. Quasi's Sam Coomes heads the bill, which means he'll jump between guitar and keys for some noise-filled pop perfection. Instrumental basement dwellers Máscaras are set to release their first album, and are continually ironing out their psychedelic sounds and frisky live shows. Mall Caste rounds it out with some greasy, grimy rock 'n' roll, which pairs well with tallboys. MARK LORE
STUMPFEST: BIG BUSINESS, SANDRIDER, NORSKA, RAJAS, BILLIONS AND BILLIONS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It's always worth tipping your hat to a band that has a DIY attitude, especially a loud band that gets no help from the mainstream. Big Business is that hard-touring band that's doing it all for the right people: themselves and the fans. Forgoing the politics of labels, contracts, and... well, big business, Big Business' last few releases, a handful of EPs, 7-inches, and one full-length, Battlefields Forever, have all been cut by their own label Gold Metal Records. Battlefields contains all the elements you'd expect from the unclassifiable trio: tectonic plate-shifting riffs, bellowing harmonies, and lumbering, tom-heavy drums that all go in directions you never expect them to. They pull double duty tonight, opening the Mastodon show downtown before scrambling up to N Mississippi to close out the last night of Stumpfest. AW Also see My, What a Busy Week!
KAREN GOMYO, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) In the late summer of 1844, wunderkind composer Felix Mendelssohn put the finishing touches on his Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra, and offered to the world a work of staggering originality so filled with melodic brilliance and head-shaking technical demands that it remains one of the most popular classical pieces. Tonight and Monday, our Oregon Symphony brings this concerto to life again, and I'm super stoked to report Karen Gomyo (and her 312-year-old fiddle) will be flying in as the featured soloist. From her first note, Gomyo will likely cast a sonic spell across the entire Schnitzer crowd—the effects of which will linger well beyond the widespread perma-grinning induced by Mendelssohn's delightfully blazing finale. And I'm usually not much of a fashionista, but honestly, I can't wait to see what Gomyo will be wearing. A nine-minute marvel from Haydn and an expansive symphony from Brahms round out the program. BRIAN HORAY
SHANA FALANA, SOUVENIR DRIVER, APPENDIXES
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Team Love Records was founded by Conor Oberst and his manager Nate Krenkel in 2003 as a sort of a splinter label to Saddle Creek. In 2009, the label relocated from the East Village of Manhattan to the small Hudson Valley college town of New Paltz, where they've been mining gold out of the nearby Catskill Mountain range. In February, Team Love put out a fine self-titled album from New Paltz twee-punk trio Quarterbacks, and earlier this month they released the fantastic debut from the Kingston, New York, psych-pop artist Shana Falana. Set Your Lightning Fire Free is a stunning collection of kaleidoscopic tunes that Falana recorded along with percussionist Mike Amari. They take a dream-pop backbone and filter it through a range of styles, morphing from spaced-out experimental-pop to uptempo, vocal-driven new wave with seamless grace and ease. CT
MASTODON, CLUTCH, BIG BUSINESS
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Mastodon's story sort of mirrors Metallica's—from underground dwellers, to critics' sweethearts, to being loved by people you don't like. And, like Metallica, they've secured their spot as one of metal's premier bands. But enough about Mastodon; let's talk about Clutch. The Maryland four-piece has been going at it since the early '90s, essentially helping shape what would become stoner rock. The same lineup still stands today, cranking out Led-heavy riffs over singer/barker Neil Fallon's strange tales. For those in the know, Clutch has secured a spot in heavy rock's long, strange trip. They're still around for a reason. ML
LARAAJI, ETERNAL TAPESTRY, LYRELS
(S1 Gallery, 4148 NE Hancock) Read our article on Laraaji.
NOSAJ THING, CLARK, D TIBERIO
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Clark's performance at Branx two years ago was a spiritually affirming affair, with washes of low end massaging the internal organs of all within earshot and beats constructed with an architect's understanding of form and function. I expect nothing less from the British electronic producer's upcoming appearance at the Doug Fir, especially if his latest eponymous album is anything to go by. The 14 tracks are masterpieces of modern house that all seem built around the title of one of its tracks: "Strength Through Fragility." Even at their hardest-hitting, Clark's compositions are leavened with a warm airiness that will make you want to spin through them like a giddy flower child. ROBERT HAM
ALTADORE, THE HUGS, TENTS
(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) Altadore describes itself as "indie rock." What on earth does that mean in the year 2015? From listening to their appealing new five-song EP, Wandering Ghost, it means, I think, that the Portland band has drums, guitars, and a singer, but they're more interested in exploring sonic textures with those instruments than banging out three-chord blues-derived jams. The guitars shimmer with just-so amounts of echo (rather than bellow and crunch); the drums lope along elegantly (rather than bash and clatter); the songs are pretty (without being folk-derived). It's not exactly an uncommon sound in this day and age, but the melodies, delivered by lead singer David Katz, are where Altadore gaze in the rock 'n' roll rearview and find their anchor. The tunes evoke '50s prom ballads, Brian Wilson-esque chord structures, and Raspberries power-pop. If Altadore's sound is nebulous, their grasp on timeless songwriting is not, and it's what sets this indie-rock band apart from countless others with the same designation. NL
BEACH FIRE, ROBIN BACIOR, ERIK EMANUELSON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Don't call it a comeback. Sloan Martin's been fronting Portland bands for years—most notably, the pedal steel-and-whiskey ruminations of Celilo, and more recently (and briefly), Steelhead. Still, his new Beach Fire project feels like a rejuvenation of sorts. "I started playing piano two years ago and this happened" is how Martin tells it, and those keys form the backbone of the band's output thus far. The new instrument also seems to have unlocked the gate to unlikely musical territory for Martin, whose summery, vaguely tropical songs on the Comeback Kid EP are bolstered here and there by saxophone, electronic beats, and female backing vocals. Beach Fire plays this week's Al's Den residency beginning tonight with a bevy of diverse guests ranging from singer/songwriter Robin Bacior to a Barbara Mandell tribute to the hiphop of Two Planets. JP
SHLOHMO, PURPLE, NICK MELON
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Henry Laufer, the LA-based producer known as Shlohmo, is a ridiculously young talent who has burst out of the Wedidit collective thanks to his mind-expanding, head-nodding beats. It's the kind of music that make you feel—as the title of one of his best tracks says—like you are emerging from a cloud of smoke. Laufer's been on an amazing run with his incredible recent collaboration with R&B singer Jeremih and his new wave/industrial-inspired album Dark Red, but looks to keep challenging himself: On this current tour, he'll be backed up by a guitar/bass/drums lineup that should add some heft to his already substantial tunes. RH
KAREN GOMYO, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Saturday’s preview.
BEACH FIRE, CONOR DAVIDSON
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday’s preview.
KATHRYN CALDER, KELLY BOSWORTH
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) The New Pornographers' 2014 album Brill Bruisers was a dazzling, upbeat comeback for the Canadian power-pop band after a couple of relative downers. But the New Pornos are very much crafted in Carl Newman's vision, and Brill Bruisers' bright sound doesn't necessarily speak for everyone in the band. Here, then, is the self-titled new solo album from the band's synth wizard Kathryn Calder. It's a beautiful pop-rock record, but it's decidedly downbeat, teeming with lovelorn lyrics, solemn arrangements, and unhurried tempos. As is often the case with Calder's work, her likeable voice and natural knack for a memorable melody are the centerpiece of her songs. But on the new album, she shrouds those things in a thicker sheen of synthesized noise than ever before. The effect is immersive and otherworldly. It feels like a peek into Calder's heart—you just have to work a bit to get there. BS
BEACH FIRE, RYAN REBO
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday’s preview.
TURBO FRUITS, ETERNAL SUMMERS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The guys in Turbo Fruits may or may not acknowledge it, but their new album, No Control, sounds like the work of a band that's finally decided, after several years of weedy, freaky fun, that it's time to take this whole music thing seriously. Don't get me wrong, fun is good, but so is writing and recording solid songs and touring and sustaining a career. No Control maintains Turbo Fruits' super-catchy garage-pop vision, but polishes it up with better production quality, tighter arrangements, and lyrics about, like, actual feelings and stuff. They've toned down the sloppy chaos and made more room for their endless supply of fuzzy hooks. Joining Turbo Fruits tonight are Eternal Summers, whose new album, Gold and Stone, adds a little rough edge to the Virginia band's lovely jangle-pop sound. BS